photo of wooden mannequin in chalk outline

Two Poems by Emily Smith-Miller


You’ve got me tracing the bodies on our checker tiled floor, laid in the 1950s. I lay down next to them and you outline me. Caught off guard, I didn’t know the roof would leak, I didn’t know it would flood. Feathers are settling like snow on ageless skin, the pillow you eviscerated now just a part of the crime scene. I want you next to me, hold my hand while I start going cold. The Polaroid snaps an image of blue and gray, a butterfly and a mammoth, my virginity and dignity. This is growing old, this is why I take trips to the beach in black jeans and turtle necks. Can I hang around your life afterwards? Can I still be in your pictures? Do you feel it now? The ebbing of our life together, sharpies running out of ink, abalone cracked by the otter. The water is almost over my shallow head, I always feared I would drown in these tears. All while the camera shutter is going off, a beetle in the background. The walls are collapsing and I’m still now. You walked out through the front door, the way you came in. What were you after? You never said a word. We are bleached bone, we are driftwood, we are all the shades of a troubled sea and you were God. I would have left us too.

My Manic Dream Girl

There was a lightning bolt tattooed on her tongue, about to strike you might say, to make any dick she licked hyper electric. She was a manic dream girl, before there was a prototype. Scar tissue and issues and candy coated Prozac. Pulling dyed wild hair over one eye, she writes songs about the weather. She plays the banjo in her thong and bandeau. Knee high socks and blow jobs in the bathroom. There was a girl, she looked like me. She changed her clothes now she’s some kind of fascinating. Drinks coconut water, through a straw. Likes Mad Dog and 20/20 hindsight vision. They say collision is a cataclysm and she needs her exorcism. Headlights off in the pouring rain, she plays catch me if you can, she rolls the windows down. Water beats her cheeks. There’s a bench with her name, etched in the granite back. She liked it like that. Black marks on white skin, living in sin, planting lilies in December frost. They said she’d go on pulling weeds in her bedroom at 4AM. She was a flash bulb burning, an ambulance screaming, a yearbook quote 10 years after the fact. Someone said ‘She’s the girl in my head’. They all drank their cocktails, they spoke her name in whispers. He still sits by her stone soul when the clouds change, but like the words on her ribs, the song remains the same.

Emily Smith-Miller is a writer from Austin, Texas. She has been published in Thirteen Myna Birds, Death Head Grin, Negative Suck, and others. She likes being covered in fake blood and watching Vincent Price movies. She hunts zombies in her spare time and is the Contributing Editor and founder of the horror blog The Carnage Conservatory. She’s probably evil and likes to bite. Her personal work can be found at:

Lead image“Extra, Extra!” (via Flickr user Wes Peck)